Tennessee's Academic Detailing Program - Why does it matter?

A perspective from Teronya Holmes, ONE Tennessee board member and Detailer-in-Training

Tennessee is overwhelmed with overuse of opioids by people from every walk of life, some possibly even very like me-a mom, a wife, a degree in exercise physiology, a career in pharmaceutical sales, a background in marketing, writing, volunteerism—and someone that experienced surgical pain and who was prescribed opioid medications by three different doctors at the same time. 

My doctors were good people, but for someone who was not used to taking much medication to begin with, after a surgery it very quickly got to where I could not go without the opioids.  What they heard from me was “I’m in pain,” and as my pain increased, my doctors wrote me more prescriptions.  My doctors didn’t think I was reliant on the pills.  It was the only way they knew to help me.  At a certain point, the pain switched because long-term opioid use causes a lack of self-awareness to distinguish the real pain, which is a different kind of pain, from the pain you think you feel. Deep down I sensed something was wrong, but at the time I was in a deep fog, unable to make rational decisions on my own.  I could not find my own way out of the pain and the confusion.

Knowing the struggle, it was my mom who shared my symptoms with a pharmacist, who immediately said the words “opioid addiction.”  It is important to know that it often takes someone else to put the pieces of the puzzle together.  

There is hope in collaborating alongside clinicians to provide academic detailing and the one-one-one evidence-based clinical recommendations for the healthcare industry.  Everyone wants to end the opioid crisis.  In parts of the state, we are just starting to see the effects of programs and projects from the medical community, law enforcement, non-profit organizations and the court system.  What has been missing is the faith community. I want to share my story and inspire our communities to overcome the stigma of addiction and follow the biblical mandate to meet people in distress wherever they are.  No matter the organization or perspective people are coming from, if we work together and take a hard look at different strategies, we can figure out what is working and focus together as entities addressing the opioid crisis.

In partnership with the National Resource Center for Academic Detailing, ONE Tennessee is training 30 health professionals to become Academic Detailers in Tennessee, committed to ending the opioid crisis through collaboration and sharing of best practices with healthcare partners and the public.  To find out more about how you can participate in Tennessee’s Academic Detailing Program, visit ONE Tennessee’s website or call 615-856-1458.